York & North Yorkshire

Former PE teacher jailed for Scarborough child abuse

Keith Fletcher
Image caption Fletcher was sacked when the allegations arose

A former PE teacher who abused young girls in North Yorkshire more than 30 years ago has been jailed.

Keith Fletcher abused four girls under the age of 16 between 1975 and 1984 when he was a "highly regarded" teacher and coach, York Crown Court heard.

He pleaded guilty to offences of gross indecency, indecent assault and attempting to commit a serious sexual offence.

Fletcher, 57, from Scarborough, was jailed for two years and nine months.

He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders' register and was placed on a Sexual Offences Prevention Order which severely restricts his contact with young women.

The prosecution said Fletcher was flattered by the attention he received from the teenage girls as a newly-qualified teacher who was "young and handsome".

The court was told he would take the girls back to his flat and abuse them for his own sexual gratification.

Three of the girls were pupils at the Scarborough secondary school where he was employed, although he never taught any of them.

He was sacked when the allegations came to light.

Women 'traumatised'

Judge Christopher Batty said it was a "sad day" to see Fletcher in the dock, as he was a "highly regarded member of the community, very impressive sports coach and someone in the community loved very dearly".

He told him: "You did not give a jot about these girls, who were young, naive, they were simply impressionable.

"As a teacher, even a 22-year-old, you had responsibilities for the welfare of your pupils and the welfare of children generally.

"You had your own desires and they came first. You abused your position of trust and you offended time and time again."

The court was told the abuse had left the women feeling "significantly traumatised", they had suffered from emotional and mental problems and one of them self-harmed.

In mitigation, Simon Reevell said: "He did not stop and appreciate he was older, he was an adult.

"He behaved with them as if they were his age. It was an inability to realise this. It was entirely inappropriate because of their age."

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